May 19, 2024

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Titans “Dude, Where’s My Gar?”

Season Four, Episode Nine

Beast Boy actor Ryan Porter got a co-story credit on this one with an assist from Geoff Johns.  Basically, this is the episode to mostly explain where Gar has been since the mid-season finale.

Also, for a show where episode titles are, more often than not, just the name of a character that features prominently, that is a rather clever episode title right there.

So, here’s an episode that pretty much focuses entirely on Gar.  He used the Red, the connection between all animal life, to save the other Titans from Brother Blood, and now…well, he’s in a cave on Mount Kilimanjaro, greeted by, of all the DC heroes that he could possibly encounter…Freedom Beast, the guy who took over when someone at DC realized B’wana Beast was probably a bit too…problematic a character.  Sure, he references Animal Man and Vixen but…

OK, if there’s one thing about Titans that has always been a little, well, frustrating, it’s that the characters will reference some other DC hero, but of course, those characters will never actually appear on the show.  There are a lot of reasons for that, such as how there are probably rights issues or just outright can’t because the special effects budget on this show is clearly not that high, but really, it always feels a little like a tease to me that there are all kinds of cool superheroes out there, and I’m stuck with these largely bland Titans.

That said, Gar’s OK, but that special effects thing means this is the first episode in the entire run of this series to show Gar transform multiple times into different animals within a single scene.

As it is, this is the episode where Gar is asked to become the Guardian of the Red, described as the connection between all living things because, I guess, they forgot that the Green exists for plant life.  Gar wants to get back to the Titans, and Freedom Beast says the Red will do so as soon as he and Gar take out a lab working on animal life that will spread a deadly plague.

Granted, this is a somewhat trippy episode where Gar sees multiple versions of himself, sees himself as a child lost in a zoo, and even communes with Jinx, who says she’s temporarily dead or something.  There’s the fight with the multiple transformations, and then…this whole thing has already happened and Gar is witnessing the past because Dr. Caulder set this up to find a way to immortality and Gar was the only survivor of this plague that killed his parents and Freedom Beast’s family, but now Gar has to be guardian of the Red and…yeah, he wants to save the Titans first because he knows bad things are coming.

Since the Red connects to all living things across the multiverse, even though it’s kind of a crappy special effect, that means Gar can use the Red to find his friends, leading to a trip through the multiverse where he sees, among other things, clips from the CW’s The Flash, a glimpse of the failed DC show Swamp Thing (so they did remember the Green), a bit of himself on Teen Titans Go, and a bit of interaction with the awesome Stargirl from her recent live action show.  There are voices, clips of multiple Jokers from various incarnations, and even a bit of Pa Kent from Superman: The Motion Picture.

Oh, and Grant Morrison is there.  Yeah, that was unexpected.

Also unexpected:  Gar lands in Doom Manor.  Now, the Doom Patrol series may have started as a spin-off before it became its own, much better thing in what turned out to be a separate universe, but that show did have one longstanding Titan that, so far, has not appeared on this series.

You know, until Cyborg popped up at the end of this episode.